Fresno State football coach Jeff Tedford said Friday that senior Jorge Reyna had emerged from a spring competition as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, and the timing of that announcement could pay dividends for an offense looking to take another step coming out of a 12-2 season highlighted by a Mountain West Conference championship.
“Jorge had a really great spring,” Tedford said. “He has command of the offense – he has been here going into his third season. He has played his role well in the past and has earned the right to be the starting quarterback.
“He’s a very talented guy who can put the ball all over the field and has a good escape dimension.”
Reyna was the leader in a competition this spring with redshirt freshmen Ben Wooldridge and Steven Comstock. He had played in 10 games last season behind Marcus McMaryion, completing 8 of 12 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown, and worked primarily with the No. 1 offense through the Bulldogs’ 15 practices.
Fresno State had a fourth quarterback at the start of the spring – Hunter Raquet left the program and withdrew from school after the first practice, opting to return to Monterey Peninsula College for a sophomore season and then transfer to a FBS program.
In making the call now rather than take the competition into fall camp, the Bulldogs go into their summer conditioning program and workouts with a clear direction.
Reyna will have a head start into the fall leading the Bulldogs’ team workouts and throwing sessions with a wideouts position group that loses KeeSean Johnson, who finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
“It’s important going into the summer to have leadership at that position,” Tedford said.
The wideouts group is young but had a productive spring, primarily redshirt freshman Emoryie Edwards, who missed the 2018 season with a foot injury.
The touchdown pass Reyna threw last season was a perfect 33-yard strike in a season-opening rout of Idaho to senior Derrion Grim, who also is back and leads the Bulldogs’ returning receivers with 33 career catches.
“He’s a knowledgeable guy,” McMaryion said of Reyna after the Bulldogs’ spring preview. “He has been in the offense longer than I have, so he knows a lot about the offense.
“He’s super-competitive. He’s going to leave it all on the field no matter what. He’s not going to leave anything out there. I think you’ll see the fire in him when he gets on the field and really gets a chance to show what he can do.”
Fresno State this season opens at USC on Aug. 31 and plays its home opener against Minnesota on Sept. 7, Power Five programs that were just 5-7 and 7-6 a year ago. It plays Sacramento State and New Mexico State in its other non-conference games, and has a favorable draw in conference play.
The Bulldogs in the Mountain West have Utah State at home, but do not play Boise State. Their seven other conference opponents were a combined 36-52 last season and four of those teams allowed more than 35.0 points per game – Hawaii (35.1), San Jose State (36.6), Colorado State (36.8) and UNLV (37.3).